Hey Everybody! Have a better dream!

“Hey Everybody!” by 5 Seconds of Summer – Have you heard this song yet? When I first heard it on the radio, I wasn’t quite sure where they were going with it. Luckily, the actual music video gives a little more to go on. It’s the usual story: they’re broke so they dream about living in a gigantic mansion and literally raking up their money. Here’s where I stand on this message:

The Good:

  • “We can’t afford to give up. We gotta make our own luck.” – Sing it brothas! If you don’t like the way something is going, change it! Nothing is going to fall into your lap. You need to make it happen.
  • “Gotta live it up today… we can all get some, we can all get paid.” – I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here that “living it up today” means hustling to get paid. If in fact, it means live it up today and wait for something to fall into your lap that equals money… then move it on down to the next section.

The Bad:

  • Credit cards maxed out, can’t afford a dollar for the bus, insufficient funds for rent – “we’ve all been there before” – These are real problems that a lot of people face. I’m not discounting that. But treating these things like they’re common and okay is not going to help. Sure, “It’s not the end of the world” as they say, but these are real financial problems to solve. It’s going to take a long time to move from maxing out credit cards and not being able to pay rent to raking up money in our mansion. And on that note…
  • Raking up money, playing segway croquet, and having a butler throw money at you – These are not real dreams. It reminds me of the line in Tangled (3 kids, remember?!) where Flynn Rider sings that his dream takes place “somewhere warm and sunny, on an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone, surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He’s later told by one of the thugs: “your dream stinks!”

Okay, my main issue with this music video is a complete lack of future self-awareness.  Everyone wants to be rich. I want to be rich, too. I promise, I do. But this whole music video shows them doing ridiculous things with their money and then ends with them becoming CEOs and small business owners. Dreaming about swimming in cash does not lead to becoming a CEO. The problem is that people have a terrible idea of what having a lot of money can mean. Because they don’t have that much money now, they imagine that if they had a bunch of money, all of a sudden, they would be different people. They would want completely different things. If playing segway croquet is one of your lifetime goals, great! Write it down. Take a picture. Stick it on your wall. And work toward that. But make sure that is your concrete goal. Do not assume that dreaming in abstract ideas of cash will get you anywhere. Most rich people probably do not see that amount of cash at one time in their lives. And they probably don’t rake it up or have butlers throw it at them.

Rich you will still be you. What would you do today with $1000? How about $1,000,000. What if you had to earn that money? Would the answers be the same? You will not make it to that future if that future is vague. It won’t be motivating enough. Figure out what you want more than anything. What would your life REALLY look like if money was not a factor? Separate that idea from actual money. Sure, money will get you there. It will be a tool, but it won’t be the end goal. Get over the idea of cash. Cash certainly won’t get you there.  And if you want to live the REAL life you want to lead, swimming in cash probably won’t be a part of it (for longer than half a day if that’s still one of your actual goals).

So, the song is right when it says “Hey, Everybody! We don’t have to live this way.” Decide today what you want your life to be like instead. In real, tangible terms. And figure out what it would take to get you there.

What are your tangible goals for the future? Is playing with cash a part of those goals?

Hey Everybody

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14 Comments

  1. I love how you broke this down! Growing up, we are continuously bombarded by the idea of “this is what having money looks like.” Whether it’s music videos, movies, advertisements, magazines, etc. It’s challenging to become an adult and realize there are no get rich quick methods (well, there are some examples but they usually end up bad). For some reason, when I was younger my biggest goal was always to find “true happiness.” I knew that what that meant to me would vary from other people. I’m learning that discovering that true happiness does not involve cash – it’s living intentionally, helping others, spending time with people you value, and much more. Cash to me is just an afterthought, or a tool. A tool that can be used responsibly once you get the basics & fundamentals down.

    P.S. Your Tangled example was spot on too! Rapunzel is my niece’s favorite Disney character. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Glad I’m not the only one watching Tangled! And yes, it drives me crazy how money becomes so abstract. It equals swimming in cash instead of using it for real things… like buying happiness… whatever form that takes for you. Freedom!

  2. As someone who also likes to relate blog posts to lyrics, I say well done! 🙂
    Like you pointed out, the ideas of what having a lot of cash equates to in real life just doesn’t happen. I hope to get that through my kids heads at a young age. A better thought to impress upon them is money doesn’t equate happiness. I thought my parents always said that because we never had any, lol. Being on the other side now, I can’t wait to get to a different lifestyle even though it means walking away from our nice paying jobs and hoping our investments do what they should do.
    It’s a risk I’m okay with taking to have a happier, more laid back lifestyle, even if we’re not “rich” anymore.

    • MaggieBanks

      Totally worth it. And definitely a lesson I plan to teach my children as well. I remember that my Uncle would always have $100 bill in his wallet, so I thought he was the richest person in the world… and all because he had cash!

  3. Maybe it’s a good thing that I haven’t seen this video or heard this song yet? I always wonder with stuff like that: Do they actually think that that’s how it works? Or are they just writing a catchy song based on ingrained cultural misconceptions?

    Okay, back to my vague idea of diving into a pool of gold coins, Scrooge McDuck style… 😉

  4. LMAO I was going to reference Scrooge McDuck but ONL beat me to it! Yeah, I haven’t heard this song nor seen the video (until now) but I can see your points, Maggie. I think there’s this weird shift going on with the younger generation of needing things now, entitlement, and a serious misconception of money. It seems like younger folks want to be rich, want it fast, and don’t want to work for it. I know I’m probably generalizing it a bit – but as I said…it’s a feeling I get (partially based on some of the younger kids we’ve hired recently at work). It’s our job as parents (and future parents if you count me) to preach good money habits to our kids. Even if we don’t have kids we should be sharing our views and stories with others to get the message out. Ok…once again I’ve rambled, but I figure if you can make me ramble, then you’re on to something with your post. Thanks for lifting some thinking from my tired brain this evening Maggie 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Scrooge McDuck is definitely our generation’s vision of wealth! And yes, the onus is on parents. It is a discussion we have a little bit at a time every day in our house. You’ll be great at that!

  5. As someone who is fighting uphill against debt, I don’t find myself dreaming of squandering wealth. I think that’s because we understand the true value of money and the hard work necessary to earn it. I do have a better dream, one that’s focused on freedom, not on buying crap we don’t need or flaunting our money.

    • MaggieBanks

      Voices of sanity and reason are welcome in this crazy world! Good for you, Harmony! In my future plans, I don’t think about money at all!

  6. I was having dinner with a friend and his young son last night and we talked about how fatherhood has changed him, and my own anxieties about it. We both remarked how our dreams adapt to our circumstances. The me of five years ago dreamed of a similar FIRE to the one we’re pursuing now, but as my fiancé and I have grown closer, those dreams have changed to include educating a little one about the world from all the places they’d be learning about. I guess the dream has always been freedom to explore and stuff as much life as possible into the time we’ve got.

    The great news is that the rich and the poor can lie on the same beach, soaking up the same sun, breathing the same refreshing air. We’ll work until we can manage that without work, and not one moment longer!

    • MaggieBanks

      Excellent goal! Ours is a similar dream. I want my kids to be thoughtful, creative helpers in the world. And I want them to have friends in many countries. I want them to see the possibilities first hand so they can decide for themselves what they REALLY want to do with life.

  7. Ha, I remember a song on the radio for awhile that mentioned how he didn’t have the money for rent but he DID have enough to go to the club. Which is what the rest of the song is about. It actually made me *angry* every time I heard it. I think maybe I over-committed there.

    My dream? To have this house paid off, have a rental property (preferably paid off) and building some healthier retirement balances.

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